Australia, New Zealand rank high in digital living, says new report on expat life

By Our Reporter
Jospephs Gate

It looks like Australia and New Zealand and great places for a ‘digital life’. According to a new report from InterNations based on the latest Expat Insider survey, one of the most extensive studies about living and working abroad, Estonia is the best country for digital life abroad, followed by Finland, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand, Israel, Canada, Singapore, the Netherlands, and the USA. New Zealand ranks fifth and Australia 14th in the “Digital Life Abroad” survey.

At the other end of the scale, expats in Myanmar (68th out of 68 countries), China, Egypt, India, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Peru, Turkey, and Uganda are the least satisfied with their digital life.

Over the last years, it has become impossible to imagine a world without digital communication, especially for globally mobile people: staying in touch with loved ones at home, mastering the administrative challenges in a new country, or working remotely as a digital nomad—the digital needs of expats are extremely diverse.

In New Zealand and Australia, expats said they find it easy to pay without cash and are happy with the accessibility of government services online

Expats in countries like Estonia, New Zealand and Australia say they are very satisfied with their unrestricted access to online services and the possibility to pay without cash almost anywhere. At the other end of the scale, Myanmar, China, Egypt, India, and the Philippines are rated the worst countries for digital life. Expats in these countries struggle with a lack of government services online, difficult access to high-speed internet at home, or even restrictions in their use of online services.

In New Zealand and Australia, expats said they find it easy to pay without cash and are happy with the accessibility of government services online. However, both countries rank low when it comes to access to high-speed internet at home.

New Zealand’s generally high ratings for the local quality of life (11th worldwide) are further consolidated by the Digital Life subcategory: Nearly all expats (98%) say that it is easy to get a local mobile number (vs. 86% globally), which is the highest share in the world. What is more, 99% of expats are happy with the ease of cashless payments (vs. 78% globally), with 77% even saying it could not be any better (vs. 48% globally). When it comes to the availability of government services online, another 91% agree that the access is good (vs. 55% globally). However, New Zealand just ranks a mediocre 35th out of 68 countries in terms of getting access to high-speed internet at home: about four in five (79%) agree that getting high speed internet access at home is easy, which is only slightly above the global average (75%).

In Australia, expats are particularly happy with the ease of cashless payments and the availability of administrative or government services online, ranking the country 9th in the world for both. Nearly every respondent (95%) agrees that paying without cash is easy in Australia (vs. 78% globally), and 83% are happy with the government services provided online (vs. 55% globally). Similar to New Zealand, Australia seems to be held back by poor internet connections (55th out of 68 countries)—both countries receive their worst ratings for this factor. “Considering how much they invest in their network, the quality of the internet connection is pretty average and sometimes really bad,” states an expat from France. In fact, close to one quarter of expats in Australia (25%) are unhappy with the access to high-speed internet at home, compared to just 16% globally.


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